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MEMORRHAGE's GARRY BRENTS Names His 10 Most Influential Nü-Metal Albums

Picks include classics by Chimaira, Spineshank, Slipknot, and more!


The following list was written by Memorrhage mastermind Garry Brents. Memorrhage will release its self-titled debut album on June 16, with pre-orders available here on Bandcamp.

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System of a Down – System of a Down (1998)

Setting the stage: It was Spring 1999 and I'm in 7th grade. Waiting for the bus after school and my friend has got some wrap-around earphones on blasting music. Throughout the day he's been talking about mushroom people. And finally, I ask him to lend the earphones and he puts on "Sugar". Completely blows my mind and I immediately had to buy the CD the next chance I got.

The pacing and sense of urgency on this album is still felt to this day when I put it on. Their approach to nü-metal was always unique and while I love Toxicity as a refined progression, the self-titled album had a much bigger impact on me with its raw and frantic energy, exploding shifts in intensity, and overall weaving of atypical moments through catchy rhythms (vocal and riff-wise) atop intricate drumming. Even when moments are mellower like the radio-friendly "Spiders", the sense of urgency is still apparent.

Slipknot – Slipknot (1999)

Also, in 1999: Backstory of how I heard Slipknot was in art class and I heard friends across the room talking about characters with numbers and how cool they looked. I couldn't make out everything they were saying and thought they were just talking about the Androids from Dragon Ball Z. No, they were flipping through Hit Parader, eyeballing nine masked men in red jumpsuits with assigned numbers.

On that alone, another friend and I both bought the Slipknot self-titled CD, as if it were homework, and were simply blown away. I remember repeatedly jamming it on a Discman on the bus ride home from school. At that time, it was the angriest music I've heard and today it's still just as invigorating. Plenty has been said about this album by many, but my favorite things about it is the claustrophobic and direct production and how energetic the performance is through such a pastiche of genres, produced perfectly by Ross Robinson. Exasperated and pushed-to-hell vocals and fierce, fill-heavy death metal-inspired drumming are what I'm personally drawn to the most here, but every component is firing on all cylinders. Every member felt. This was the most referential album for me as I was devising tones, vocal delivery and mixing Memorrhage self-titled.

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Korn – Korn (1994)

Back to ground zero: Korn were my first favorite band and held that spot for years from 1995 to 1999, until I got into the above-mentioned SOAD album. First time I heard them all I knew was "Blind" from watching the music video at a friend's house with his older brother. This was the first moment I loved something in music. However, I didn't own the album, along with "Life is Peachy" and "Follow the Leader" until a few years later when my parents started letting me have CDs.

There was and still is something so palpable to this album, a connective tissue to the bottled-up anger and frustration of adolescence. Totally unfiltered, the raw emotions of Jonathan's vocals weave in and out dynamically and powerfully over the thick, genre-defining instrumentation and tones across the board, all succinctly captured and extracted by Ross Robinson. Notably, the funk-by-distortion bass playing was a major influential moment for me as bass was one of the first instruments I learned.

Spineshank – The Height of Callousness (2000)

Forward-thinking mashup of nü-metal and industrial that felt ahead of its time. Really enjoy their ability to weave in the cyberpunk vibe and electronics with the bouncy aggression. Overall, I come back to it quite often for the infectious hooks top to bottom.

Static-X – Wisconsin Death Trip (1999)

This album was a game changer in the same regard as Spineshank with the mix of industrial and nü-metal, but this album ushered in its own trademark known as "Evil Disco". Across this album, the groove is absolutely king, and every component of the band not only revolves around this fundamental but enhances it. Wayne Static's approach was letting each vocal syllable carry its weight in perfect time with the groove, no matter how far-fetched or nonsensical a phrase might sound. And when he's belting, that signature yell-singing is still a holy grail vocal delivery for me to hopefully achieve one day.

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Chimaira – Pass Out of Existence (2001)

One of the pioneers of nü-metalcore. It captures the mid to late 90s metalcore chunkiness but fuses it with nü-metal's angsty approach and groove. Their first release developed it, but this album leaned notably further into nü-metal's corner. Somewhere between Disembodied, late 90s Fear Factory, and Slipknot. This combination really speaks to me as it's something I'm channeling with Memorrhage. Through this hybridization, this album displays punishing riff-writing, tasteful electronics, strong vocal delivery, and the solid leaning into the now-expected double-bass drum action in 2001, especially from the heavier acts of nü-metal.

Vein.FM – Errorzone (2018)

A modern pick. Keeping this short but sweet like its runtime: crossover of early mathcore and metalcore bursting with the groove, harsh/clean vocal dynamic, and occasional single-note dominance of nü-metal. Not too surprising that they're an influence on me, but a solid part of my approach with Memorrhage is "if fully leaned in and embraced nü-metal as part of its DNA."

Nothingface – Violence (2000)

Really infectious and aggressive album, as it should be with its title. As a kid I did not love this band, but they grew on me. Something about them kept wanting me to come back to it. Maybe it was my friend who was a huge fan. Not attempting to be flashy, Violence from top to bottom is filled with strong, well-written songs. Simple, yet catchy hooks spear-headed by Matt Holt's unapologetic rage versus his trademark clean vocal self-harmonization.

Mudvayne – L.D. 50 (2000)

I had a similar reaction to this when I first heard Slipknot. It had the aggression but painted in a more complex way, a controlled chaos that I probably didn't even realize as a kid but wholeheartedly appreciated as I got older. I'll say the album in its entirety is a bit frustrating with excess length, but the brightest spots are still very influential on me: "Death Blooms", "Severed", "Everything and Nothing", and Ryan Martinie's bass playing over the unconventional structures within a nü-metal context.

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Soulfly – Soulfly (1998)

I first knew Sepultura as a kid, but it was only a few songs spread out from Arise, Chaos A.D., and Roots. I knew Soulfly in a more complete way with their first album before I did my digging with the above albums and thrash metal entirely (Beneath the Remains is my favorite thrash album).

I've always loved Max Cavalera's energy and delivery. Maybe one of my top 10 vocalists and riff writers. I will save the backstory of his threshold crossing into nü-metal but rather give praise to how he nails the genre so well with this album. I do like it more than Roots and felt this was the logical next step to that album but took all the best parts and made it angrier, with a lot more bounce. I'll say the album does suffer overall from being a bit bloated, but the strongest moments of this album are highly impactful on the genre and myself. First three tracks are one of the best runs in nü-metal.

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